Innovative Workforce Development: NYU Dentistry Dental Assisting Certificate Program Graduates Spring 2022 Class

On August 31, 2022, after a hiatus of two-plus years due to COVID-19, NYU Dentistry held a live, in-person graduation celebration for students in its Dental Assisting Certificate Program. Launched in 2017, the goal of the program is to provide highly motivated, un- or underemployed men and women with marketable job skills as chairside dental assistants.

The Dental Assisting Certificate Program is a highly selective, six-month, tuition free program that is offered twice a year. A maximum of six applicants are admitted for each six-month cycle, and the program is by referral only. The program includes all core courses in short modules taught by expert faculty from the College’s Department of Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting alongside clinical faculty and DDS students in the Group Practices and specialty care clinics.

“Dental assisting is one of the fastest growing health care careers in New York City and much of the country,” says program coordinator Professor Lorelei Kirby. “An 18% increase in employment opportunities is forecast for both full-time and part-time dental assistants. It has been so exciting to watch this diverse population of dental assisting students go out into the world as compassionate, critical thinking, health care professionals.”

The spring 2022 class of Dental Assistant Certificate Program students consisted of four candidates: Lisa Brown-London, Ruben Marquez, Jordan Atkinson, and Skye Wilson. The group included one person who immigrated from Mexico, a single mother seeking to improve her economic situation, and two high school graduates with limited work skills. Two of the four graduates have already secured positions in dental clinics/offices.

“The Dental Assistant Certificate Program is a great stepping stone,” added Professor Kirby. “From here our graduates may decide to continue their studies, become licensed, go into dental hygiene, or they can remain in dental assisting, which is rewarding in and of itself.”